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pounds 5,000 just to park outside their own homes; FAMILIES HIT BY BILLS FOR DROPPED KERBS.

Byline: JEANETTE OLDHAM

FAMILIES in Birmingham are being forced to fork out up to pounds 5,000 - just for the privilege of parking on their own drives.

Council chiefs have pocketed up to pounds 6 million since 2002 from installing dropped kerbs, to allow motorists to pull up on to their grass or drive.

A Transportation Department official at Birmingham City Council said that lowering a kerb usually cost between pounds 400 and pounds 1,400 a time.

But the Sunday Mercury has discovered at least six residents werequoteda staggering pounds 5,000 each.

A council spokeswoman said the extra cost was down to clearing obstructions such as utility boxes and lampposts. And theywarnedanyonenot using its workmen to put in a dropped kerb faced having their DIY jobs ripped up - and being charged for it.

But the sky-high costs, together with the regulations governing applications, need to be reviewed, according to a leading city councillor.

Hugh McCallion, who represents Kingstanding and is also deputy leader of Birmingham Labour group, plans to refer the issue to the council's Scrutiny Committee.

He said: 'The cost of dropping kerbs certainly needs looking at. It went up recently but it needs to be reviewed. It's very high at the moment.'

On the regulations, he said: 'They just don't make sense. To qualify for a dropped kerb, 50 per cent of the adjacent properties must have one.

'If that's not the case you will never qualify for a dropped kerb. It says in the regulations that if you get your neighbour to join with you, your application may well be successful.

'But I knowone family on Kings Road whose neighbours have dropped kerbs, but they have still been turned down twice.

'They're desperate to get their cars off the road because of the safety issue.'

A city council spokeswoman said: 'The council receives no income from this service which is self-financing and non-profit making.'
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Nov 21, 2004
Words:319
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